West Virginia's Second Half Surge Buries Tigers
Morgantown, WV – West Virginia guards Deuce McBride and Jermaine Haley both led the Mountaineers (16-3) with 15 points apiece as they knocked off the Missouri Tigers (9-10) 74-51 inside the WVU Coliseum Saturday afternoon in the Big 12/SEC Challenge. The Mountaineers were just 1-5 in the conference challenge coming into the game.
West Virginia opened the game on some high-low action with Derek Culver receiving the pass at the top of the post and dishing it down low to Oscar Tshiebwe for the bucket.
Then, the Mountaineers were off and running after Jordan McCabe corralled a rebound, pushed the ball up the floor and dished a no-look pass to Tshiebwe down the lane for the dunk. That was then followed up by a Jermaine Haley three as the shot clock expired and the Mountaineers held the early 8-2 advantage.
Defensively, West Virginia held Missouri to 1-15 from the floor until Tray Jackson’s offensive put back ended a five-minute drought without a fie.
Miles “Deuce” McBride answered with a drive to the basket that sparked a quick 8-0 run and the Mountaineers capped it off by a turnover created by Gabe Osabuohien poking the ball away. Taz Sherman dove for it and got the ball out ahead to Duece, who shrugged off a defender and laid it in to extend the lead, 20-6.
However, West Virginia quit playing with the same intensity that got them the 14-point advantage in the first 12 minutes and consequently, the Mountaineers were held scoreless for nearly five minutes and committed six turnovers during that span.
Missouri started the game shooting 0-9 from the three-point line but then went 3-3 in manufacturing a 13-2 run to get themselves back within three 22-19 with 2:22 remaining in the half and got the deficit down to one at the break.
“We stopped playing,” said West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins. “I mean, we kind of stopped playing they started making some shots. They struggled to make shots early then we just kind of stopped playing and it gave them too many opportunities. We didn’t rebound the ball. We were just kind of standing around staring for a while. And, kind of woke up at halftime.”
West Virginia flipped the proverbial switch and it started on the offensive glass. Tshiebwe set the tone with a one-handed slam on an offensive rebound and Gabe snared an offensive board, then kicked out to Jordan McCabe at the leftwing and he buried the three to build the Mountaineer lead to six.
Derek Culver kept the momentum going, delivering a pass to a cutting Chase Harler for the lay-in and Deuce McBride got revved up, finding his spot just outside the left elbow for the jumper, It was then Culver who poked the ball away from Nikko before throwing it down as the Mountaineers began the second half on a 23-2 run.
The Mountaineers maintained their effort in the second half preserving a double-digit lead, and not allowing Missouri to get any closer than 18 points.
Eleven of McBride’s 15 points came in the second half and Taz Sherman came up big midway through the second half scoring seven in under three minutes to put West Virginia up 23.
As West Virginia built a 27-point lead, the walk-on freshman Spencer Macke made his appearance, and after recording his first field goal Monday night against Texas, Macke banked in a three with just over a minute remaining and of course, the Coliseum went bananas as the Mountaineers went on for the 74-51 win.
With the win, Bob Huggins moves into seventh in the all-time win list tying Adolph Rupp with 876 victories.
West Virginia will be back in action on Wednesday as they head on out on the road to Lubbock to face Texas Tech at 8:00 pm est. on ESPN Plus